Blackwood Special Diet (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Blackwood Special Diet dry dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Blackwood Special Diets dog food product line includes four kibbles, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Blackwood Special Diet Lamb and Rice (4 stars)
  • Blackwood Special Diet Salmon and Potato (4.5 stars) *
  • Blackwood Special Diet Chicken and Potato (4.5 stars) *
  • Blackwood Special Diet Sensitive Skin/Stomach (4 stars)

* Grain-free recipes

Blackwood Special Diet Grain Free Salmon and Potato was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

Blackwood Special Diet Grain Free Salmon Meal and Potato

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Salmon meal, potato flakes, tapioca starch, field peas, canola oil, catfish meal, herring meal, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, natural flavor, chicken cartilage, lecithin, calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, kelp meal, apple, rosemary powder, ground thyme, ground cumin, mustard seed powder, crushed red chili pepper, pumpkin meal, salt, choline chloride, monosodium phosphate, cranberry, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, Yucca schidigera extract, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), glucosamine HCl, vitamin E supplement, mineral oil, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, organic dried kelp, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, iron sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, selenium, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis28%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%17%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%35%38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon meal. Salmon meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than even fresh salmon.

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears1 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The second ingredient lists potato flakes, a dehydrated potato product usually made from by-products of a food processing plant. This item is equal to corn in calorie content yet with notably more protein.

The third ingredient is tapioca. Tapioca is a natural extract made from the root of the cassava plant. It is a starchy carbohydrate that is not only grain-free… but also gluten-free.

The fourth ingredient is field peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient lists canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.

Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.

Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The next ingredients include catfish and herring meals, two more protein-rich meat concentrates.

Again, the company has assured us all fish meals used to make this product are ethoxyquin free at the time they are procured.3 to be ethoxyquin-free.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With four notable exceptions

First, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener4 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

In addition, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.

However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.5

And lastly, this food also contains chelated mineralsminerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Blackwood Special Diet Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blackwood Special Diet dog food looks to be an above-average kibble.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

Average protein. Average fat. And average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

In addition, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the field peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Blackwood Special Diet Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry and fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

09/07/2011 Original review
03/11/2013 Review updated
03/11/2013 Last Update

  1. Blackwood Customer Service email, 9/7/2011
  2. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  3. Blackwood Customer Service via email, 9/7/2011
  4. Wikipedia definition
  5. EFSA News Story dated 6/12/2012
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  • Erika

    Some of these ingredients seem odd to me. Why would a dog need ground cumin and red chilli pepper? Wouldn’t they be kind of spicy for a dog?

  • Burgiss
  • Dog Food Ninja

    Oh, and after checking the blackwoods website, I was surprised to see that the 5000 catfish and barley formula still contains chicken meal! Kinda defeats the purpose of a unique protein food when you throw is chicken.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    With only a paltry 23% protein, the 5000 line doesn’t deserve any higher rating than the 2000. If it merited a higher rating, mike would have mentioned it as an outlier in a separate review. But it deserves no such mention. In fact, I think 4 stars is already a bit high for a food with such lackluster protein content.

  • hounddogmom12


    If you read the top of the review it states:

    “The Blackwood Original Recipe product line lists 3 dry dog foods… each claimed to meet AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

    Blackwood 1000 Every DayBlackwood 2000 Active DietBlackwood 5000 Alternative Diet
    Blackwood Dog Food 2000 Active Diet was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.”

    When there are multiple products within the same line only one is chosen to represent all because the ingredients and nutrient profiles are so similar that there is no point in review each individually. If Mike felt that there was something about the 5000 formula that was significantly different than the others and that it deserved a different rating that would have been noted in the review or a separate review would have been done. If you look at the reviews for every brand one formula is picked to represent the whole line.

  • Burgiss

    Not really. This piece reviews Blackwood Dog Food 2000 Active Diet. I’d like to see the same kind of detail for the 5000.

    Thanks, Lynda

  • hounddogmom12


    The Blackwood Alternative 5000 has already been reviewed. It’s falls under the Original Recipe (which includes Blackwood 1000 Every Day, Blackwood 2000 Active Diet, and Blackwood 5000 Alternative).

  • Burgiss

    Blackwood Pet Food, LLC
    38281 Industrial Park Road
    Lisbon, Ohio  44432
    330-205-4433 Cell
    330-313-3646 Fax Direct
    Matthew Golladay
    Vice President
    [email protected]


    I have contacted Mr. Golladay several times by email and he has always answered. We have been successfully feeding Blackwood Alternative 5000 (catfish and barley) to my Westie for several months. He was diagnosed with bile syndrome in December, and had developed an intolerance for chicken and lamb. We get the food in 48 hours, with free shipping, from:

    Hope to see a future review of this food on the Dog Food Advisor site.


  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Terrance… Unless you can see an actual nutritional analysis (not the label) for any specific product, I can only assume the company has taken its supplementation scientifically and added only what the recipe requires for it to meet their published AAFCO profile standards.

  • Terence Tan

    Pet foods which include vitamins, such as Vitamin A Supplement. At the same time some include liver in their recipe. Won’t this particular pet food be overdosed with Vitamin A? Or do you think the Vitamin A supplement already inclusive of the vitamin A in liver ?

  • Mike Sagman

    Cheryl… Try the Contact Us page on Blackwood’s website. Hope this helps.

  • http://[email protected] Cheryl

    I have looked & looked but I cannot find a phone number for
    Blackwood dog food. I would like to try it but it’s not available around Wisconsin. Can you help?
    Thanks so much:)

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